1795 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Butler

Robert Anderson, in Works of the British Poets (1795) 5:520.



There is something strikingly similar in the fate of those two great geniuses, Butler and Cervantes: Both successfully attempted to free their respective countries from fanaticism of different kinds, by the united and irresistible force of wit, humour, and satire; yet, while their works were universally applauded, the authors themselves were suffered, the one to perish with infirmity and want in a prison, and the other (a fate to a generous mind as severe) to linger out a long life in precarious dependence: so just is the observation of Juvenal, which the experience of sixteen centuries hath ratified, and the history of the manners of every nation confirmed,

Haud facile emergunt, quorum virtutibus obstat
Res angusta Domi—
Slow rises worth by poverty oppress'd.